I must have a stomach made of iron, because last night I actually was able to watch the Trump Rally in Pensacola, FL without vomiting. I have never seen one of these things before in its entirety, and it was eye opening and sickening. I’m not going to bother posting the video of it here. If you really want to watch it, it’s on Youtube.
Trump holds his hate-rallies to garner necessary narcissistic supply and the adulation and worship he craves, but this one had a secondary purpose — to drum up support for Bible thumping pedophile and sexual abuser Roy Moore. I believe Moore is every bit as much of a narcissistic sociopath as Trump, and birds of a feather do tend to stick together. Between Steve Bannon, Roy Moore, and Trump himself, these morally bankrupt despots are ready to take over the GOP and remake America into their hateful, racist, homophobic, sexist, and nationalistic image and call it “good.”
Trump’s speech, as always, was full of generalizations, baldfaced lies, self-congratulatory nonsense, empty slogans, demonizations of the liberal press, and smearing of people he dislikes or that threaten him, all while puffing out his chest and clapping for himself. As usual, he said nothing the least bit inspiring, wise, compassionate, or intelligent. His audience soaked it all in.
I have never seen another president demonize the opposing political party the way he does. He called the Democrats “evil, bad people” who are actively trying to obstruct what he is doing (like, maybe they are trying to save America from becoming Nazi Germany 2.0 or Mussolini’s Italy?). He even accused liberals of trying to set up an authoritarian regime that would suppress free speech and freedom of religion (yes, really). This is the way you talk about ISIS or maybe North Korea, not your fellow Americans. It’s the kind of rhetoric banana republic dictatorships use to divide and conquer, while disguising their corruption and moral bankruptcy by making themselves blameless. It’s a tactic utterly alien to any working democracy.
It’s not much of a stretch to go from “they are evil, bad people” to “they aren’t human,” and “they should be killed.” Despotic leaders throughout history have justified genocide and torture by dehumanizing their opposition. I fully expect that if something isn’t done to stop him soon, liberal journalists, protesters, and others who disagree with Trump and his cult will be jailed. Our First Amendment is hanging in the balance.
Trump’s speech was also a great example of how malignant narcissists use projection and blame-shifting to manipulate. To anyone familiar with NPD, it’s easy to see that whenever Trump smears others, he is really talking about himself. He attributes those negative qualities to others that actually belong to him. It’s almost funny once you realize what he’s doing, and once you see it, you can’t unsee it. He’s really smearing himself, although most likely he’s not consciously aware he is.
Even more disturbing than Trump’s hate-filled, despotic speech, was the spectacle of the supporters attending. They really remind me of a cult, and in fact they are one. Cult leaders can convince their followers that the most heinous or amoral acts are somehow A-OK if they benefit the cult’s or leader’s goals. Charles Manson was great at this sort of manipulation. L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, was also well-versed in it. The Children of God “Christian” cult was a less famous example. Cult leaders throughout history have been able to brainwash and control their followers. They can convince their flock to believe anything, no matter how insane or wrong, using mind control and manipulation techniques.
Cult leaders can also convince their followers to commit evil or amoral acts, often against what the cult leader believes is their opposition. L. Ron Hubbard did this by calling people critical of Scientology “Suppressive Persons (SPs) or “low tone” and followers who were in contact with them “Potential Trouble Sources.” Hubbard required his followers to do the same, which included cutting ties with concerned family members who dared to criticize Scientology or their family member’s involvement in it, or shun other Scientologists who were “ethics” problems. Trump (and his sycophants) do the same thing by calling liberals, Democrats, and leftist and even centrist media “evil” and “enemies of America,” when in reality it’s Trump and his lackeys and enablers who are the ones destroying America.
The rally started off fairly quiet, but like obsessed sports fans, once Trump got going and the attendants got sucked into his unhinged, hysterical monologue, the audience got louder and their demeanor more fevered. They cheered him on and chanted “MAGA! MAGA! MAGA!,” “DRAIN THE SWAMP!” and “Lock them up!” They waved American flags and MAGA signs. They seemed like more like fans at a rock concert than a political rally.
At the same time I was watching the live-stream video, there was a box to the side for comments. Almost all those watching were Trump (and Roy Moore) supporters. The comments were interesting and very reminiscent of those of young adolescents with a crush on some teen idol, obsessed sports fans, or cult members. There was no depth or evidence of critical thinking or knowledge of politics in these comments — most were either repetitions of what Trump just said, strings of emoji hearts or clapping hands, or mindless phrases like “MAGA!” usually punctuated with American flags and hearts. There were also comments like, “ROCK STAR!,” “Trump rocks!,” “DESTROY THE LIBTARDS!,” and “DRAIN THE SWAMP!” Strangest of all (but completely expected) were religiously tinged comments like “God’s Avenger!,” “KING CYRUS!” (many Evangelicals believe Trump is King Cyrus from the Bible) , “God’s right hand man!” and “THANK YOU JESUS FOR TRUMP!” I even saw one that said “Trump = Emperor God King!” These comments were often punctuated with strings of emoji crosses or praying hands. Most disgusting of all were comments that celebrated Trump’s spiritual or even physical beauty: “His hair is made of Spun Gold!” and “Trump’s heart is so pure!” and “Trump always tells the truth!”
After watching the rally, I’m more convinced than ever Trumpism is not a political movement, but a cult.